It's too early to say the Brett Myers or Ryan Madson era has begun but it's late to be saying Brad Lidge can no longer be counted on to close games.
The Phillies beat Washington last night on the strength of Pedro Martinez' good outing and solo home runs from Raul Ibanez (2), Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley. The homers gave the Phils four players (including Ryan Howard) with 30 or more home runs.
Still, that achievement nearly came to naught as Lidge loaded the bases with Nats in the bottom of the ninth before Madson came in to get the final two outs. Lidge was his usual 2009 self, that is to say, wild and unreliable. He gave up a hit, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and walked a batter. For once, Charlie Manuel saw enough just in the nick of time and summoned Madson before victory became defeat. Madson struck out the dangerous Ryan Zimmerman and induced the equally dangerous Adam Dunn to ground out. The thought of Lidge facing either batter was literally frightening to his manager.
The five home runs by the Phils came in bunches and, as usual, accounted for all but one of their runs. The solo shots were the 13th in their last 14 round-trippers, as clear an indication as one could want that people are not getting on base.
Instead of rounding into playoff shape, a lot remains unsettled with this club. Several pitchers remain sidelined with injuries and some of the starting position players are walking wounded. Chief among their concerns remains the matter of who closes, not going forward but tonight if needed!!!